The Nanfang / Blog

Chinese Censors Tighten Up Over Child’s Letter About Xi Jinping’s Waistline

Posted: 12/18/2014 4:27 pm

censored letter xi jinping lose weightMiddle-aged men around the world know it’s difficult to stay in shape, and even more difficult to hide it. For Chinese President Xi Jinping, it becomes even more of a problem if your waistline becomes a hot topic on the internet.

State censors have banned publication of a letter written by a nine year-old Henan boy that suggests President Xi lose weight after it went viral last night.

Niu Ziru, a grade four student at the Best International School in Zhengzhou, wrote the letter as part of a writing contest. Never intended to be sent to President Xi, Ziru’s father thought the letter was amusing enough to share on the WeChat social networking platform.

The letter talks about the international space race to get to Mars, and urges President Xi to choose the red planet over the moon as a destination for a space expedition. However, Ziru then changes the subject and makes an appeal to President Xi to lose weight.

“Uncle Xi, you could lose some weight. [You] don’t have to look as slim as [US President Barack] Obama. It’s all right to look like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” the letter wrote.

The Zhengzhou Evening News picked up on the story after it spread on WeChat, and the story begun running nationally until state censors shut it down.

The Chinese media are quite enamored with any personal Xi Jinping news. Not long after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin put a coat on the shoulders of Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, President Xi was photographed helping Peng walk through a door on a ship.

Furthermore, the marriage between Xi and Peng was celebrated as an ideal model in a music video called Daddy Xi Loves Mummy Peng that received 20 million hits within its first five days online.

Photos: cntv, scmp


China Cracking Down on Broadcast of Western TV Shows with Strict New Rules

Posted: 12/15/2014 5:37 pm

funny-Conan-O-Brian-China-IphoneAs bad as any “bad China day” can get, expats can always enjoy the pleasure of popular Western TV shows through Chinese streaming websites. But it looks like even that pleasure may disappear once new regulations take effect next year.

The State Committee on Films and Broadcast Media (formerly known as SARFT) wants to make it more difficult for dangerous imperialist western ideas to infiltrate China via Hollywood sitcoms. Starting next year, SARFT will require all online broadcasters to have a special license to broadcast any non-Chinese television shows.  Even then, no new content can be broadcast until at least six months have passed from its original broadcast date the west.

The change was announced at the 2014 China TV and Film Creative Arts Summit, and has already drawn swift criticism for encouraging pirates to fire up the old DVD-burners to distribute content illegally.

So before it’s too late, watch Western TV shows like Conan, American Horror Story, Homeland and Saturday Night Live online before they go they way of The Big Bang Theory.

big bang theory banned china


Photo: themetapicturevonbonn


Zuckerberg Sucks Up with Xi Jinping’s Book, But Prospects for Facebook Unclear

Posted: 12/10/2014 10:43 am

Never underestimate the things Facebook will do to tap the China market after it was blocked in 2009. Speaking Chinese in October at a Q&A session at Tsinghua University couldn’t get the site unblocked, so Mark Zuckerberg has upped the ante: he displayed Xi Jinping’s tome “Governance of China” during a visit by China’s top Internet regulator Lu Wei to Silicon Valley.

When photographs of Lu visiting Facebook’s offices appeared on Chinese state media, netizens noticed Xi’s book happened to be on Zuckerberg’s desk. The technology mogul said that he bought several copies of the book and gave them to his colleagues, asking them to learn “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, the Washington Post reported.

But whether Zuckerberg’s efforts will be reciprocated is another question. Back in October, when Lu was asked by foreign reporters about why Facebook and other social media sites are blocked in China, he gave a rather stern response. “I never used these websites. I don’t know if they are blocked. It might be true that some websites are not accessible in China. But I want to stress that our management is based on Chinese laws, and all of our actions taken hence are consistent with China’s state security and the interest of Chinese consumers,” he said.

Xi Jinping’s book Governance of China was found lying on Mark Zuckerberg’s desk.

Lu continued: “For those we do not allow in China, they took a big share of the China market, and earned our money, but are doing harm to us. This kind of situation is something we can’t tolerate. As long as you obey Chinese laws, we welcome all the Internet companies from the world to enter China. Our market is indeed quite big.”

Lu never gave a firm answer on whether Facebook may eventually be unblocked. Until then, expect Zuckerberg to continue his charm offensive.

Photos: That’s; Elleman; weibo



No More One Night Stands or Sexual Innuendo on Chinese TV

Posted: 11/13/2014 11:00 am

China doesn’t have an established rating system for film and television shows, so the country’s media regulator, SARFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television), has absolute authority to axe any show it deems “inappropriate” for Chinese audiences.

Under a new rule introduced by the regulator, awkwardly titled the “Notice on SARFT’s Regulation to Tighten Control on Internet Video and Audio Content”, scenes and plots related to marital affairs, love triangles, one night stands and gratuitous violence, will be edited or deleted, Jiangsu Net reported. The rule states that content charged with sexual innuendo, wife-swinging, sexual abuse, incest and prostitution will all require editing. The rule goes on to explain that “content with too much physical contact needs to be cut or deleted.”

The new rule is expected to target online video streaming websites, such as, where a number of foreign television shows are streamed online. Even the relatively benign comedy show Big Bang Theory was targeted by the Chinese media censor.

Weibo user, 我bu是皮皮猪 questioned what would happen if the rule was enforced, commenting, “None of the Chinese classic novels-turned shows would make the cut, nor would any foreign blockbusters. The only content left is state-produced shows. Redness will cover all of China.”

Another user, N那些记忆, asked, “if you’ve got balls, why not delete all of the Party official adulterers we’ve been reading about?” Many corrupt officials recently purged from the Communist Party were sacked on the grounds of adultery. According to an official from China’s anti-graft body, adultery charges apply to officials who have at least three mistresses, China Daily reported.

Another user, 鱼二三四, attacked SARFT’s logic: “If traffic jams can disappear just by deleting the term ‘traffic jam’ from the dictionary, then I would gladly do so.”

Photos: Showtime



Putin on the Ritz: Russian Leader Caught Hitting on Xi Jinping’s Wife

Posted: 11/11/2014 3:07 pm

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censorChinese censors routinely target sensitive information about national security, the military, and politics. But now the country’s vast army of censors have been given an entirely new task: blocking all reference to an act of chivalry by Russian leader Vladimir Putin towards Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.

Several world leaders attended an outdoor event last night near Beijing’s famous “Water Cube” swimming complex for a night of dancing and fireworks. While host and Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping was busy speaking to US President Barack Obama on his right, Xi’s wife Peng was seated next to President Putin.

The newly-single Putin perhaps decided Peng Liyuan looked a bit chilly. So, as gentlemen tend to do, he took a coat and wrapped it around Peng’s shoulders. A CCTV 13 commentator caught the event, saying,  ”Putin has just placed his coat around Peng Liyuan’s body.”

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censorEven though Peng was nonchalant about the gesture by letting the coat slip from her shoulders moments later, the video was picked up by a number of Chinese news media and inspired the hashtag #PutinGivesPengLiyuanHisCoat. However, censors put a stop to any further talk by censoring it from internet news portals and online social media circles.

Rumors about China’s leaders are not tolerated, even as others involving Chinese women and powerful Western leaders, such as those regarding the former wife to Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch, Wendy Deng, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are allowed to swirl.

And yet, this is not the first time President Putin has turned on the charm for Peng. On a 2013 trip to Russia, Peng stole the limelight from her husband with her style and grace. Not censored from Chinese news at the time was Putin’s gift of a bouquet of flowers to Peng as Xi watched from afar.

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower giftrussian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower giftrussian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower gift

Here’s the video of Putin putting a coat on Peng:

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censor[h/t Foreign Policy]

Photos: smh, Foreign Policy, Weibo @普京VladimirPutin, screenshots of CCTV 13


Reports Say China to Unblock Facebook During Beijing APEC Summit

Posted: 11/6/2014 9:30 am

Get ready to (temporarily) disconnect those VPNs social media fanatics. According to a report in the Want China Times, China’s Internet censors plan to unblock Facebook during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing. If in fact Beijing lifts the ban, it should happen sometime this week.

We told you that Beijing plans to give government workers a vacation during the summit to reduce traffic and smog, something the government hasn’t done since the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics; however, this move would be unprecedented. What’s more, reports suggest that in addition to Facebook, the ban on popular Google and BBC sites may also be lifted to accommodate visiting dignitaries and their desire to communicate with the outside world.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s impressive display of Putonghua proficiency on his recent visit to China has softened Beijing’s attitude toward the social media juggernaut. Either way, enjoy the brief reprieve while it lasts because it probably won’t.


It’s Getting a Lot Harder to Stream Western TV Shows in China

Posted: 09/4/2014 6:45 pm

The Big “Banned” Theory

After yanking four popular American TV series – The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, NCIS and The Practice - from China’s video-streaming websites in April, the country is now set to put even tighter controls on foreign TV shows available on the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the new policy.

The new policy would allow Chinese media regulators to limit the number of foreign TV shows to no more than 30 percent of content on China’s video-streaming websites such as Sohu, Youku, Tudou and Iqiyi. It did not say whether the 30 percent cap referred to the number of TV shows or TV episodes.

China’s media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said that foreign TV shows currently account for more than 50 percent of TV content on Youkou and Tudou alone.

An executive at one of the Chinese video-steaming websites told the newspaper that the regulating agency has been collecting data about foreign TV shows from the websites for quite a while to study the new policy.

The motives behind the new regulation aren’t immediately clear, but executives at some of the websites told the Wall Street Journal that the cap would help cool the bidding for licensing foreign TV shows. Last year, licensing foreign and domestic shows cost the websites RMB 4.2 billion ($683 million), up from RMB 3.2 billion in 2012 and RMB 300 million in 2007, according to figures released by EntGroup.

Before the popular comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory was pulled from Sohu TV, it was watched by 120 million viewers a month over 1.4 billion times, roughly around the country’s total population.

While China’s own state television CCTV was broadcasting Game of Thrones, a sexually graphic TV show, and even Walking Dead, filled with violent and bloody scenes survived the censorship, the choice to ban those four American TV shows in particular was baffling to a lot of viewers. 

The country’s media regulator vaguely explained that the four shows may have violated Clause 16 of the country’s online broadcasting rules, which “prohibits pornography, violence, and content that violates China’s constitution, endangers the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, provokes troubles in society, promotes illegal religion and triggers ethnic hatred,” the New Yorker wrote.

There were also rumors that the reason The Big Bang Theory was banned was because CCTV is looking to broadcast the show on Channel 8 after the translation work is done, Beijing News reported.

We don’t know which of your favourite foreign TV shows will be next in line to be axed, but one thing is clear: sooner or later, the country’s media regulator is going to get them.

Photos: The Blot Magazine; Qianjiang Evening News 


CCTV Congratulates Banned TV Show For Emmy Win

Posted: 08/27/2014 3:08 pm

big bang theory sheldon cooper jim parsonsBreaking Bad may have been the big winner of this year’s Emmy awards, but Chinese citizens know who the real winner is: Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory.

In verifying the show’s cultural significance in China, CCTV posted a comment on Weibo congratulating Parson for winning the award for Best Performance of a Lead Actor in a Comedic Role for his portrayal of the worst friend/roommate/boyfriend you could ever hope to have:

big bang theory emmy win

There is a type of humor called ‘Sheldon’
The Best Performance of a Lead Actor in a Comedic Role is: Jim Parsons for ‘Big Bang Theory’. This is the fourth time Parsons has won the Emmy! But actually, his path has not always been smooth sailing. From his first appearance, the program could not find a television network willing to purchase it. However, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ has been an exception. After reading the script for the pilot episode, Jim thought that this character was right for him… let’s congratulate him!

But what should be Chinese fans expressing their pride at Parsons well-deserved Emmy win has instead been an outpouring of rage. Netizens are still furious about The Big Bang Theory having been unceremoniously banned from video streaming sites earlier this year.

Here are some comments from this post that emphasize people’s anger over the ban on what may be China’s most beloved foreign comedy show:

Prohibited from broadcast, so I’ll just say ‘bird’ (a Chinese expletive) [waving.emo]

Isn’t this show prohibited from broadcast? What’s the point of mentioning this?

Therefore, stop the ban on broadcasting this show!!!!

In fact, the news editor (that wrote this post) was thinking: the ban on the show has nothing to do with me!! I’ll just show my appreciation for Sheldon; what’s wrong with that?! I actually really (expletive) want the ban to be revoked!!!

Why have this ban? And yet they still have the gall to publish this kind of news? [angry.emo] Detestable.

Can this show still be broadcast? A dubbed Chinese language version of this show will be nauseating! The Sohu subtitle translation of the show was so amazing!

The Sohu version of The Big Bang Theory was broadcast in English without any cuts and was accompanied by accurately translated subtitles. As well, additional notes were provided to clearly explain the numerous pop cultural references made in each show.

Fans have been awaiting a rumored move to network television where it is to be dubbed in Chinese, mostly likely to be aired on CCTV. With the next season coming up soon, we can only imagine how funny Sheldon will be by saying in Chinese: “Penny…. Penny… Penny…”


Photos: the Nanfang, CCTV


Canadian Prime Minister Bans Chinese Reporters From Trip for Bad Behavior

Posted: 08/20/2014 3:45 pm
li xuejiang prime minister harper press conference tussle

Chinese reporter Li Xuejiang gets forcibly removed by the RCMP at a press conference on August 23, 2013.

The Canadian government has banned certain Chinese reporters representing specific news organizations from participating in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s upcoming trip to the country’s north.

Spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, Jason MacDonald, told QMI Agency that “certain news outlets were no longer welcome” to travel with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reports the Winnipeg Sun. A source in the government said reporters from the People’s Daily and Xinhua news agency will not be able to attend the trip this year.

The decision follows an incident that took place last year during Harper’s previous visit to the Canadian north.

li xuejiang prime minister harper press conference tussle

Chinese reporter Li Xuejiang argues with Julie Vaux on August 23, 2013.

On August 23, 2013, a Chinese reporter named Li Xuejiang got into a heated exchange with a member of the Prime Minister’s office, and had to be forcibly restrained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

During a press conference at Raglan Mine, Li was upset that his opportunity to ask the Prime Minister a question was revoked and tried to grab a microphone, after which a physical altercation took place.

As reported by the CBC, press conferences run by Prime Minister Harper are tightly scripted events in which questions from reporters are first verified, and then scheduled. Li was going to ask about investments made by foreign entities into Canada’s natural resources. “I wanted to clarify the federal government’s policy and the regulations toward foreign state-owned company investment,” he said.

Li was unrepentant. “Why should I apologize? They should apologize to me for depriving me of my right to ask a question. The Prime Minister’s Office shouldn’t deprive my right. It’s not democratic.” li xuejiang prime minister harper press conference tussle

However, Li eventually did apologize, saying that he was “sorry for what happened”. All the same, Li continued to complain of unfair treatment. He showed off bruises he claimed he suffered from the altercation, and then wrote on September 8 that Chinese reporters stationed in Canada are discriminated against. Li said that police followed him everywhere, even to the bathroom.

Prime Minister Harper will be making his annual trip to northern Canada from August 20 to 26 and will be accompanied by staff and members of the Press Gallery, an organization of journalists who cover national politics on Parliament Hill.

Despite being identified by the Canadian Press as the Ottawa-based bureau chief for the People’s Daily, Li has also been identified by Xinhuanet as a correspondent working for the Global Times and the People’s Daily Online.

[h/t @spilledtea]

Photos: CBC,


Chinese Signs in Canada Criticized for “Undermining National Identity”

Posted: 07/15/2014 6:10 pm

chinese sign controversyBus shelter advertisements in Vancouver, Canada written in Chinese have been criticized for undermining ”traditional English and French Canadian identity,” reports the Vancouver Sun.

Brad Saltzberg, a spokeperson for the advocacy group Putting Canada First, wants the signs taken down. Last April, the group was successful in taking down Chinese-only ads belonging to the social service agency SUCCESS. Saltzberg states that if Chinese signs continue to proliferate, ”our whole city will appear to be Asian.”

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith does not see anything wrong with the signs, which usual market real estate and financial services, and are also written in English. Smith said, “I believe in personal freedom. If you pay your money you should be able to advertise your sign in any language you want. I’m not a racist. I don’t see why anybody would be offended by an advertisement in a different language.”

West Vancouver’s sign bylaw does not cover language issues.

Saltzberg said “I’m proud to say I’ve never believed in multiculturalism for even one minute of my life.” Multiculturalism, a policy that promotes and encourages the proliferation of diverse world cultures, was nationalized in Canada during the 1970s.

A 2011 census of Vancouver revealed that there are 163,230 ethnically Chinese residents. In total, Chinese residents constitute 27.7 percent of the total population of Vancouver. The white community is expected to become the minority in Vancouver by 2031.

The largest and oldest component of the Vancouver Chinese community are Cantonese, who write using Traditional Chinese characters. The Chinese written on the contested signs are written in Simplified Chinese, the language used by mainland Chinese, commonly alluded to as the newest immigrants to the Vancouver diaspora.

However, mainland Chinese have come under fire for causing Vancouver’s real estate prices to skyrocket. Their antics have lead to the inspiration of a reality TV show called Ultra Rich Asian Women that only stars Putonghua-speaking Chinese women.

Photo: Vancouver Sun

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